• How old are our customers?
  • Which demographic do they fit into?
  • What lifestage are they at?

As marketers, how many times have you analysed questions on age and tailored communications accordingly (with copy tone, imagery, prizes etc)?

Well if you’re still doing that in a digital world, then you’re living in the dark ages.

What do you see in this picture? Old age or youth?

I see 3 like-minded people who love surfing. The third one, in the water standing up on a paddle board, looked like he was in his 50s. But he was out there for hours having a wail of a time as the other 2 kids began surfing with him.

What do you see in this picture? A couple in their 30s or 40s trying to retain their youth?

Well I saw my wife trying to high five me whilst re-enacting the Toyota, ‘Oh What a Feeling’ commercial!

Why are marketers so obsessed with boxing people in by age when the internet allows us to transcend age and focus on like-minded attitudes?

Whilst age is important, and it can provide an initial level of segmentation, it can easily misguide us towards inefficient and ineffective marketing.

So where to focus for your customer segmentation?

Marketers, please dig deeper by focusing on attitudinal segmentation. You can also overlay a level of engagement (see Forrester’s Social Technographics data tool  http://www.forrester.com/empowered/tool_consumer.html ) and  get a richer picture of your prospect or customer base. I saw some client research today that reinforced the need to create deeper attitudinal segmentation however the client insisted on continuing with one size fits all communication.

Worse still they believed that their social media was segmentation!

Social media can be the first step towards gathering like minded people in the one place. So you would think that you have ticked the box and created social segmentation. Right? Wrong! You’ve just created another one-size-fits-all communication strategy.

Social media activity (most likely a Facebook page, Twitter account or YouTube channel) will attract people of varying ages and attitudes that share a common link – your brand. Yet it doesn’t mean that they all share the same view on what your brand does for them. So you should work harder to identify segments within your social media activity and establish like-minded groups, discussion and interaction.

In simple terms, try creating different photo albums in Facebook for different types of user interests. Just don’t label them, for 30 yr olds, 40 yr olds, 50 yr olds etc. Hopefully you get the picture and now know where to focus your segmentation strategy.

If not, then let’s start a conversation on how we can develop a more effective segmentation strategy for your business.